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The Lovers

3.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,434 Ratings  ·  314 Reviews
“Vendela Vida has written a riveting and suspenseful novel about an American woman’s voyage to self-discovery.”
—Joyce Carol Oates

“Stunning. A masterful meditation on grief and love. The Lovers is a sensational novel from one of our finest writers at the height of her craft.”
—Stephen Elliott, author of The Adderall Diaries

In 2007, Vendela Vida’s novel Let the Northern Light
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Ecco (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,989)
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B the BookAddict

As none of my GR friends have read this novel, I have no idea how it ended up on my tbr list. I also have no idea what the point of the story was; there didn't seem to be any plot or direction. It was an ordinary, very ordinary read. 2
Betsy Robinson
This is a slow, meandering, and emotionally disjointed story of a woman who has recently become a widow.

The meandering quality is because the descriptions and sequence of them felt like a travelogue; a woman travels from Burlington, Vermont, to Turkey, and within Turkey, to the place of her honeymoon, to Konya (Rumi’s hometown), and to other smaller towns. Toward the end (page 211 of 225 pages), we are reminded that she has taken this journey because she is trying to recapture something from de
Dec 09, 2011 Kinga rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vendela Vida, also known as the wife of Dave Eggers, has written a book about Yvonne, the widow, who goes to Turkey to grieve and remember her late husband. Her destination is Datca, the place where decades before she spent her honeymoon. As Turkey is the ‘land where archaeologists came and were startled to find entire town as they once were’, she expects to find things exactly as she left them all those years ago, so she can re-enact the happy times of the early days of her marriage. Something, ...more
May 23, 2012 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lovers, at first glance, seems to be an unfortunate title for this story: a middle-aged widow, Yvonne, journeys back to a seaside village in Turkey where she and her husband had happily honeymooned decades before. She is there to spend some time alone before meeting up with her twin adult children – her troubled and addicted daughter Aurelia and her “perfect” son Matthew – for a cruise.

An aura of menace with wisps of sexual tension pervades most of the novel. The vacation home is spotless an
Jul 17, 2013 Elyse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting small book ---
Its really closer to a 3 star book ---(yet, I'm giving it 4 stars). I liked the 'intimacy' I felt while reading it. (I was swept right into this this story).

I could see a few things in the plot which are questionable ---however --I enjoyed the flow of writing --and who cares if I maybe the story could have taken a different direction. Truth was---I was pretty damn 'PRESENT' while reading every word of 'Vida's book!

This is my first book I've read by Vendela Vida (wife
Malena Watrous
Aug 17, 2010 Malena Watrous rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Vendela Vida's writing a lot. It's pared down to the essentials, with a great forward momentum--even when the characters are privately mulling over the past, as Yvonne is in this book. I like how she captures the surrealism of ordinary details--white freckles on a man's arms, a hotel room in a cave, a woman who only arranges her face so that she looks beautiful when she knows she's being looked at. I agree with those who say that she writes in the vein of Paul Bowles--these travel novels ...more
Aug 07, 2010 christa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I made a rookie error and poor, poor Vendela Vida's novel "The Lovers" is the innocent victim.

It all started when I feel madly in love with Jennifer Egan's book "A Visit from the Goon Squad." I lovingly caressed the cover, made kissy faces at it, considered starting from scratch and rereading it immediately. I tried to think of a better book in all the world over, and failed. I sighed a lot. The music of REO Speedwagon finally made sense to me.

What I should have done: Chased it with something co
Jun 28, 2010 Jennie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book, since I loved my time in Turkey. However, I found the events unrealistic and couldn't get past this. The ending was preposterous!
The second title from Vendela Vida that I have read; the second winner. Like Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name, the writing is simple yet illuminating, picturesque prose especially exemplified as her settings seem to be lesser popularized travel destinations.

Here she has her heroine, Yvonne, in Turkey, including Datca, Istanbul, Konya, Kronos; the most mesmerizing being those near the water as she spends time with Ahmet.

It is a story of self-discovery. A story about marriage, love, mothe
Yvonne's life has taken unexpected turns over the years. Her husband has died in a horrific hit-and-run car accident; their children, twins Matt and Aurelia, are grown now, but Aurelia's teenage years and on were riddled with drug and alcohol abuse, filled with lies and deceptions and stints in rehab. Yvonne returns to Datca in Turkey where she and her husband had spent their honeymoon in hopes of returning to memories that don't involve death and dishonesty while at the same time desiring to fi ...more
Cathy Smith
A real page turner --but not in a good way.

First let me say that there was a lot that I liked about this book, especially at the beginning. I liked the premise: widowed Yvonne, a school teacher, goes to Turkey, which is where she and her husband had gone on their honeymoon, 20-something years earlier. I also was very fond of Yvonne; I found her interesting, sympathetic, with compelling personal problems to work on during this trip. And I really liked Vida's prose, which balances descriptive tra
Jul 03, 2010 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

As a huge fan of this author's last book: Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, I was very excited to read Vida's latest novel, The Lovers.

Like in her last novel, this story is about a woman on an emotional journey, traveling far from home to find herself and meaning in her life. Yvonne is a 53 year old woman, mother of adult twins: Matthew and Auerelia. She lost her husband Peter, two years earlier and is still numb from the loss. She is tired of having everyone still asking how she is doing
Bonnie Brody
Feb 28, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vendela Vida's relatively short novel, The Lovers, packs a big wallop. It is a multi-layered story about Yvonne, a widow, who returns to Turkey where she and her husband once honeymooned. She believes that by returning to the same place where they had been together early in her marriage, she will feel closer to him. Her husband Peter was recently killed in a hit and run car accident in their hometown of Burlington, Vermont. Yvonne has rented a large home, sight unseen, for a couple of weeks unti ...more
Ms. Vida presents us with another spare and reflective novel about a woman searching to redefine herself after the death of a loved one. Instead of the cold glow of the Arctic Circle that defined Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name, Ms. Vida bathes the protagonist of The Lovers, Yvonne, in the cerulean blue of the Turkish Riviera.

Ms. Vida writes so deftly and with such elegance. You are given just the right depth of detail to create your own vision of setting and character and the just enou
Jan 06, 2012 Maree rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
She writes with such truth that I can't help but nod along with the analogies and moments the book points out, about people and how they think and what we say and do, and how words can just be so inadequate. That's what I love about this book.

While this book takes place in the beautifully described Turkey, it's not about the setting at all, but entirely about Yvonne, the main character who has lost her husband in the previous months and is still dealing with the aftereffects. There is no shallow
Oct 15, 2015 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Lovers, Yvonne, 53, travels from her home in Burlington, Vermont to the Turkish town of Datça where she spent her honeymoon with her husband Peter, killed two years earlier in a hit-and-run accident. She was hoping to come to terms with the truth of her marriage - especially to remember again the happiness that characterized it at the beginning, and to emerge from the catatonic state in which she has been since Peter’s death:

"…she had come to Datça to strip herself of these lies, to shed
Jul 14, 2010 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

In the aftermath of her husband's death, grieving widow Yvonne travels to Turkey where she and her husband had honeymooned 28 years before. Her plan is to spend some time alone reflecting on her marriage and the loss of her husband and then meeting up with her adult twins for a cruise. Her plans become complicated when she quickly becomes entangled in the lives of several people. She uncovers secrets about the man she is renting a house
Jul 23, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of New Yorker stories
Shelves: fiction
This book is so well written. I really enjoyed reading it. I was carried along by the story, wondering what would happen to this woman on her solo journey to a remote corner of Turkey. However, as it went along I wondered more and more where the story was going, what was the point? I finished the book and I still couldn't answer those questions.
As I said, the writing is so memorable and enjoyable, but the story was implausible at times and at those portions I lost interest in the main character.
Jun 19, 2010 Bookish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been over a month now since I've read this book and I am still thinking about the ending - in fact, about much of the book. It's not very long; I read it in one or two sittings straight on through.

Because I am enthralled with Turkey and love reading books set there (a reflection of my longing to revisit), I was immediately drawn to The Lovers by Vendela Vida. The premise of a woman going on vacation to a village by the sea and the title suggest that this story might romanticise travel (and
Nov 15, 2013 Johanneke rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
Op de weegschaal, deze. Het ene schaaltje heet 'goed' (niet excellent, helaas) en het andere schaaltje heet 'gekunsteld'. Het komt nooit in balans met een voordeel voor het een of het ander.

Goed: - De opening van het verhaal. - De achtergrond van een huwelijk dat een tweeling voortbracht, waarbij de vrouw (Yvonne) haar hart verpandt aan de dochter en de man aan de zoon en ze elkaar nooit kunnen overtuigen van hun keus. - Het lastige aan het alleen op vakantie zijn in een land (Turkije) waar heri
Jul 12, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lovers, Vendela Vida
The Lovers is a novel set in Turkey, where a newly widowed woman returns to the place of her honeymoon, almost three decades before. She's trying to escape her life in Vermont, and her new status as the pitied single woman among couples. As the mother of grown twins, she is conflicted with her memories of her marriage and her relationship with her children. She's discovering that as more time passes since her husband's death, the more she is forced to re-evaluate their r
Apr 10, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vendela Vida returns to the theme of her last novel: a women, broken by some recent tragedy in her family, travels to a foreign country where she is truly alone in her grief. Vida's last book was a real heartbreaker, and this one is no less gut-wrenching. But her characters are so complex that even as their worlds spiral downwards, there's something you can hold onto and identify with within so much sadness.

The main character in the Lovers returns to the scene of her honeymoon years later, afte
Rebekah O'Dell
Aug 02, 2010 Rebekah O'Dell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vida’s novel opens with Yvonne, a middle-aged widow, lost and looking for her driver in a Turkish airport. Vacationing alone in an attempt to recapture the magic of her honeymoon in Turkey twenty-six years before, lost is how Yvonne spends most of the novel, metaphorically speaking.

While her husband was killed in a car accident years before, this is Yvonne’s first trip without him. Even though the reader hears stories about Yvonne’s life at home in Vermont, it feels to the reader as though thi
Maria Ella
This month was dedicated to a marathon of #laslasreads - a book where a character dies, or where they cope with the loss. Or where you just lingered in a limbo and unsure where to go.

Of all the books that I've read, this book shined because it gave me a sense of closure. It has awarded me a piece of solace. This, no matter how simple it was written, or how short the development it, gave me an ending - exactly how I imagined it would end.

Some may consider this prose a comfort read, a novel that
Feb 19, 2016 Jillian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The description isn't great but makes it sound like there is so much more to the book then there is. This woman stays in Turkey for like 6 days and magically makes these close friends really quickly, despite not knowing the language, and something happens which I kind of predicted. Not a fan of this author. Just seems like part of the story is missing. The writing is not for me.
Dec 31, 2015 Sherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-this-year
Another gorgeous novel from Vendela Vida. A self discovery novel whose world pulls you in - a story of grief, loss, and hope - all depicted in an elegant style. Four and a half stars.
Gretchen Rings
I had high hopes for this book, which started off well, but eventually went off the rails. Yvonne is a widow who decides to take a return trip to Turkey--site of her honeymoon--to help ease the pain of the recent loss of her husband. She rents a large vacation home while there, a home belonging to a wealthy man who is married but keeps the home for his French mistress. What seems to be building as a story of intrigue (and maybe an act of passion to come) veers off into another story all together ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Alicia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I read this book I kept seeing Katherine Hepburn~ as Jane Hudson from the movie Summertime.
And I kept thinking " wistfully "
Is it just me?

" & that Yvonne needed only to shed her cloak of mourning in order to be who she once was .."

An interesting read, I have become consumed w/all things Vendela Vida.

I am still ~ not too clear if the title refers to her once alive marriage,
that ends with the loss of Peter or if it is a sort've aside to the many couples that
Yvonne encounters on her tr
Jan 22, 2016 Jenna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't that turned off by this book as I was reading - the writing is smooth and innocuous, and I was interested in reading an educated foreign tourist's perception of Datça, where I've spent quite a bit of time (Vida and her husband Dave Eggers went to Turkey on a "babymoon," and she returned to research this book, but obviously wasn't too impressed with the town...which I find fairly confounding given its loveliness in my experience? but DIFFERENT STROKES).

Vida's ignorance and negativity ab
Jan 10, 2016 Eren rated it really liked it
Wow, where was I in 2010 when this was published? It was under my radar.

This book takes place in Datca, Konya, Cappadoccia and Istanbul, Turkey. Vida so gets the culture, as indicated by the narrator's saying that the head scarf and conservative clothes she was wearing were "unnecessary" because no one on the plane from Istanbul wore scarves. The rich women wear high heels and see-through blouses, as they do in the Bodrum and Datca Peninsulas.

Vida writes eloquently about what it's like to lose
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Vendela Vida is the award-winning author of four books, including Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Nameand The Lovers, and a founding editor of The Believer magazine. She is also the co-editor of Always Apprentices, a collection of interviews with writers, and Confidence, or the Appearance of Confidence, a collection of interviews with musicians. As a fellow at the Sundance Labs, she developed L ...more
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